We reported over the weekend that Dana White reiterated in no uncertain terms that Chuck Liddell was retired and would not fight again. Liddell’s longtime trainer and close friend, John Hackleman, thinks otherwise. He told MMAJunkie.com that he has more that one fight left in him and while his game may not be what it was 10 years ago, he’s still definitely at the top of the food chain.
“Who beat him? ‘Shogun’ (Rua). Quinton (Jackson). Rashad (Evans). And he was barely beaten in a really close, one-point fight by [Keith] Jardine, so it’s not like he was knocked out by Shannon Ritch.”
As for the all important question – what does Chuck himself want to do – Hackleman noted that “Chuck will make his decision, and then it’ll be up to Dana whether to give him a fight or not. We’re just hanging back right now and relaxing.”
Hackleman went on to compare Liddell’s situation to Randy Couture’s in 2007, when Couture came out of retirement to defeat Tim Sylvia for the UFC heavyweight championship. “It’s an automatic conclusion on him at [age] 39, quicker than they did when he knocked Randy out cold twice in a row, then Randy jumped to heavyweight and won a title,” Hackleman noted. “I don’t know. I don’t think he’s done because of that. We’ll see what Dana has to say and if he’ll fight in the UFC again.
“He’s fine. He’s a veteran who doesn’t like to lose, but he takes his losses and accepts them. He’s looking for what’s next. There’s no hurry. There’s no rush.”
As to whom Hackleman would like Liddell to face, he stated that he would like to see Liddell get a rematch with Keith Jardine, who defeated Liddell via split decision at UFC 76. “That would be a great fight,” Hackleman said. “It’d be a great comeback for both of them, and the UFC can use a look at that.”
Hackleman also noted that Liddell, who has one more fight on his UFC contract, may explore competing somewhere else if White refuses to allow Liddell to fight. Here’s hoping that Chuck Liddell speaks out soon about his future plans and puts all the speculation to rest.
For the full interview with MMAJunkie.com, click here.